I cry every single day. Most of the time, once a day, but occasionally, like three times a day. I can’t really help it, I just feel things really strongly and then it comes out watery. Sometimes, I feel like a baby chick, imprinting on everything all the time, or like a robot seeing the world in 4-d color; too bright and a little too loud. I’m not a sad person, in fact, I’m usually a very happy one. The tears are about renewal. At least once a day, I have to cleanse myself of whatever’s going on, and once the tears are out, I feel better.
It might sound crazy, but I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. I know that in many ways, it’s a privilege to be able to cry. People who take antidepressants often can’t, or anyone who feels worn down or hardened enough by their environment that they don’t feel that strongly anymore. I’m not jealous of them because I understand not being able to cry is a struggle with it’s own significance. But sometimes I find myself wishing that I could turn the tears on and off like a switch, to avoid those awkward situations where I can’t cry alone.
While crying is perfectly normal for me and generally okay, having to hide it from everyone else is uncomfortable and frustrating. But in the good old hyper individualistic USA, we’re taught from a young age not to let anyone see when we cry. It’s rarely socially acceptable, and crying in public is at best, embarrassing, and at worst, anxiety-inducing. If you’re a member of the frequent crier club like myself, this definitely causes some issues. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time or space to be alone when I cry.
I had my first breakdown at Emerson last semester during a journalism class. I went to sit in the hallway and unfortunately, the class break started a few minutes later and people poured out of the classroom. It was so uncomfortable to sit there against the wall, tears everywhere, and watch classmates give me sideways looks. Jesus fuck, you guys. This isn’t fun for anybody! You’re allowed to ask if I’m okay. You’re allowed to ask if you can help. Not everyone who is a member of the frequent criers club wants help, but we have to allow people to set their own boundaries instead of turning upset people into social pariahs.
One of my love languages is physical touch. In an ideal world, if I’m crying and upset, I get a hug. Other people might prefer some kind words or to experience their emotion in peace. But our individualistic culture has taught us never to reach out to someone- my hypothesis is, a lot of us don’t even know how. We guard our hearts and our affection to a close group of family or friends. This can be a survival mechanism in a world that prioritizes productivity and power over humanity, but it can also be a detriment to ourselves and others if it means we avoid our own or other people’s pain.
I don’t mean we should start treating upset people with pity or trying to fix their problems. I think we should just start to question why being emotional is so stigmatized, and furthermore acknowledge how that stigma pushes us to develop unhealthy habits. When I ignore how I’m feeling, it builds up and hurts me later. So, I’m going to keep crying whenever the need hits- whether that’s in the shower with someone else’s pop music blasting in the background or a corner booth at Panera. And hopefully, we can get to the point where that’s not weird anymore.
Adelaide is a freshman Journalism major. She could be described as fun, fresh, and a little bit funky. She writes everything down to figure it out and is excited to maybe help other people figure things out by reading what she's writing. Adelaide loves coffee, running, and talking. Hit her up to discuss the merits of nontraditional journalism or gush over the Cranberries.